Go From a Tough Sell:
To jumping out of your store
You never get a second chance to make a first impression- and that first impression is your main picture. You want that one to snap, grab the attention of your customer and leaves them wanting more. A crisp square close up is a good start.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can't get that shot right. You're using macro, maybe even a light box or natural light and it's not right. It's in focus but a little dark or the color is off or you just can't get close enough. And not matter what, your digital camera is going to give you an image that is 1600X1200, not a square.
Now is when you need a photo editor of some sort. There are free photo editors to be had; the best one I tried was Picassa. I was looking for ease of use, cropping, neutral color picker, some auto tools as well as being able to make corrections manually. You can click here to download Picassa but no matter what editor you use, the steps will the same.
After you download Picassa, it will just ask you to install and then access the pictures on your computer. After you have the folders loaded, pick a picture and click on it to edit.
1. Crop your image-it's under Basic Fixes. Try to make it as close to a square as possible and pull in close to your image. If your item is very long or very tall, be sure to leave some white space to make it square or better yet, crop to an interesting detail. If you are photographing jewelry be sure to come in close. Show off that special detail.
2. Balance the color- make your whites white. This can be under color balance, depending on your progam. In Picassa, click on the tab Tuning. Before anything else, click on the eye dropper under neutral color. Then click on a spot in your picture that is white, grey or black- or at least was in the real world. This step makes such a difference.
3. Brightness and Contrast - This is also under Tuning in Picassa. There is an auto button but usually I still need to fix it even after that. There are 4 sliders. The first is Fill- which changes the overall brightness; highlights, then shadows. You may need to play around a bit to find a the right mix. There is also Color Temperature but by the Neutral Color Picker already corrected that.
4. Sharpen, under the effect tab, it does exactly what it say. I would say always try this one, almost every picture can benefit from this. I found the soft focus works well. The glow didn't overwhelm and just make my white background stand out. Too often, effects filters just wind up distorting the image but that didn't happen here.
5. Saving the picture:You can just use Save As but if you want to resize the image or compress the image, it is easy but a little more complicated. While the picture is still open, go to file, then "Export Picture to Folder". This will allow you to resize the image if it is still too large.
* Next you can choose between original image size or "resize to". If you didn't crop much, you'll probably want to Resize and then you can type in the pixel or move the slider. Pictures for artfire should be 500-1000 pixels, your best bet is about 700.
* Next choice is Image Quality. I would suggest using Normal rather than Automatic. It will compress the file(not the size of the image) and it will load more quickly.
* There is also an option to add a watermark.
There are other filters and fixes to try but these are the basics. I used to struggle for a half hour or more with each image but by going through these steps, with the tools available, each picture can take minutes instead.